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Teachers have busy lives. Their workday doesn’t end when the final bell rings, but they still need to make time to nourish themselves.
Inadequate nutrition can lead to a host of health issues. Furthermore, it can leave you cranky and less able to tolerate the inevitable antics of your class clowns.
What can you do to get the nutrients you need, support a healthy weight and still have time for your multiple duties? Here are six healthy eating tips for teachers.
1. Stock Your Freezer
Your weekends are as busy as any other career professional — maybe more so because you have papers to grade. However, you can spare two or three hours to work some kitchen magic. Master a few of your favorite freezer-ready recipes so you can cook a big batch on Sunday afternoon, providing the evening’s dinner and grab-and-go goodness for during the week.
You don’t have to stop at full meals. Why not prep some healthy alternative snacks, so you aren’t tempted to reach for the chips?
For example, you can mix up a big batch of make-ahead-and-freeze hummus, placing it in individually-portioned pouches — ice cube trays work well for this purpose. Cut up some celery and carrots to go with it and have them waiting in the fridge. Voila! You have a protein-rich snack lower in carbs than pretzels or crackers while providing antioxidants.
Exercise caution with premade freezer meals. TV dinners can come in handy in a pinch, and some quality brands feature all-natural ingredients with no additives or fillers. Read your labels. If they’re full of good-for-you whole foods you can pronounce, go ahead and stock up for convenience.
2. Play Prep Cook
You might not mind cooking dinner after a full day of teaching class if you sideline as a celebrity chef. Why? You’d have a prep cook to handle all that mincing, slicing and dicing that takes up most of your time in the kitchen.
You might never appear on the next episode of “Beat Bobby Flay.” However, that doesn’t mean you can’t swipe this time-saving tip from the folks in the restaurant industry. Go ahead and play prep cook when you bring your groceries home or do your weekend meal prep. Chop everything like it should be to include in the recipes you plan for the week.
You’ll probably discover that you have the energy to fire up the wok at the end of a long day. That is, if you already have your bell peppers, water chestnuts and broccoli ready to go. Pro tip: Most hard veggies stay crispier if you store them in water. Submerge them in their storage containers before placing them in the fridge.
3. Blend It Up
You’ve no doubt observed people walking around sipping on pond-green drinks. Although they may look a bit off-putting, most green drinks offer tremendous nutritional benefits. They provide the perfect way to get your kale and spinach when you don’t have time to make a salad.
What should you include? Consider these green drink recipes.
Classic Green Drink With Celery
- 1 bunch chopped curly kale
- 1 large peeled lemon
- 1 inch peeled ginger
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 large Granny Smith apples, cored
- 4 whole celery stalks
Juice and strain through a sieve to eliminate pulp. Serve over ice and enjoy.
Pineapple Green Smoothie
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
Blend all, adding ice if desired. Enjoy.
4. Invest in a Lunchbox
Did you think lunch boxes were only for your students? Think again. You can easily increase your nutritional intake by investing in the right model.
Have you heard of Bento boxes? It’s a single dish meal that you pre-assemble and let your lunch kettle cook for you while you work. Most meals start with a foundational starch, like rice or noodles, topped with one or two proteins and tons of colorful vegetables and fruit. Does that sound healthy? It is!
However, you can find non-heated versions designed for western lunch tastes in mind. These devices provide various-sized containers where you can pack a sandwich, salad or wrap, a small soup and several snacks, all in individually portioned sizes.
5. Muscle Up Your Most Important Meal
You probably heard that breakfast is your most important meal of the day. Experts now dispute this idea, as people who participate in periodic fasting experience health benefits, despite skipping this meal.
However, let’s be real about typical teaching schedules. You may go from morning to evening without pausing for a meal, using your lunch period to help kids in crisis, run copies or catch up on lesson planning.
Therefore, muscle up your morning meal by including plenty of protein and fiber. Why? Protein takes longer to digest, keeping you feeling full. Fiber does the same through a different mechanism. It draws water into your intestines, creating a feeling of bulk.
6. Consider Meal Delivery Kits
Finally, it’s time for dinner. However, you’re fresh out of freezer meals — or you took them all to zap in the faculty room microwave. Is it takeaway or nothing?
Why not investigate meal delivery kit options? There are dozens of varieties on the market today that cater to various dietary needs. You enjoy a nutritionally balanced meal for far less than the cost of DoorDash. Better yet, you can find plans for vegans and vegetarians, too.
Healthy Eating Tips for Teachers
Many teachers lament that their diet goes to pot when school’s in session. However, you can eat healthily, even with a full teaching schedule.
Embrace the above healthy eating tips for teachers. You’ll perform better in the classroom when you feel full and satisfied.